Manufacturing News

All-electric tube bender

UNISON, a UK-based company, has announced an all-electric tube bending machine that combines the flexibility of multi-stack tooling with the power to bend tubing of up to 150mm outside diameter.

It brings the accuracy, repeatability and fast set-up benefits of all-electric machinery to the larger tube sizes used in applications such as shipbuilding, truck exhaust systems, and structural tubing for buildings.

Called the Breeze 150, the new machine is optimised for high-precision applications, and includes unique operating software that virtually eliminates the high costs normally associated with machine configuration for small-batch and just-in-time parts production.

In addition, energy consumption is a small fraction of an equivalent hydraulically-powered bender.

Breeze 150 offers sophisticated programmable control over the rotary draw bending process, with a maximum bending torque of 92,000Nm. Bends of up to 180 degrees can be made, with a high degree of repeatability of ±0.1 degrees of both bend angle and plane of bend.

The machine includes a number of features to further support precision bending including a swing-away wiper die system to simplify tight radius bending applications, and split tooling to aid bending of square section tube.

The versatility of the machine is also greatly aided by a stack height of 630mm for tooling, allowing users to store multiple toolsets on the machine for rapid changeover between batches.

A key element of the new machine is the Unibend Control Software, which Unison believes delivers the most versatile tube-bending capability available worldwide.

Unison made the world’s first all-electric tube bender in 1994, and the machine control software has been evolved over more than a decade, and includes advanced features such as automatic set-up.

This will automatically sense and clamp a tube, ready for bending — greatly reducing the time required for initial set up.

Users have complete control over the bend operation, and can modify the bend speed, clamping pressure, pressure die position and force, and mandrel positioning parameters applied to achieve the ideal bend.

Following set up, all the operating parameters are stored, allowing the machine to be configured for further batches of parts in a few minutes, and without creating any scrap.

The control software runs on a standard Windows PC, providing further flexibility for users. This includes powerful diagnostic aids, which allow the engineering team at Unison to help manufacturers immediately with any bending problem, or machine performance issue.

The machine includes a webcam, which Unison can remotely access. In combination with a software ‘black box’ that automatically stores the last 500 instructions entered by the operator, and details of machinery positions from the servo motor sensors, Unison can help users to optimise their processes, as well as provide remote maintenance.

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